Sunday, February 22, 2009

World War I Ship Found Off Sardinia

The well-preserved wreck of a French battleship sunk by a German submarine during World War I has been discovered on the Mediterranean seabed off Sardinia, officials say. The Danton, a 410-foot-long warship that was one of the largest French naval vessels of its time, was spotted by a company conducting an underwater survey for a gas pipeline between Algeria and Italy. The Galsi pipeline builder said Thursday that the battleship was in "remarkable" condition, with many of its gun turrets still intact. It said the Danton was upright under more than 1,000 yards of water on the Mediterranean seabed, 22 miles southwest of the Italian island of Sardinia.
A computer-enhanced sonar image shows the wreck of the French battleship Danton on the floor of the Mediterranean.
The Rome-based Fugro Oceansismica first discovered the wreck while conducting a geophysical survey for the pipeline in late 2007. Its high-tech equipment allowed officials to construct a digital 3-dimensional model of the ship and the seabed. Galsi said subsequent talks with French naval authorities confirmed the wreck was that of the Danton, which was built in Brest in 1910. The battleship sank with 296 sailors aboard in 1917. Galsi says it will reroute the pipeline to keep it far from the wreck.

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